Grubauer expected to face Talbot tonight

Grubauer expected to face Talbot tonight
December 27, 2013, 12:00 pm
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Highlights: Ducks 3, Caps 2

Rookie goaltender Philipp Grubauer will make his sixth start in nine games when the Capitals face the New York Rangers tonight at Verizon Center, again raising the question of when Braden Holtby will regain his title of No. 1 goaltender.

“It’s a long year,” Caps coach Adam Oates said when asked to explain his decision. “He’s only played [seven] games but I feel comfortable with him right now and I’m going to play him.”

Grubauer, 22, is 4-1-1 for the Caps this season with a 2.20 GAA and .934 save percentage, including a 30-save effort in a 4-1 victory over the Rangers in Madison Square Garden on Dec. 8, one of the Caps’ most complete games of the season.

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Oates said Grubauer kept the Caps in that game with a couple big saves and played well Monday night in the Caps’ 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks.

But what about Holtby, who has played in just three of the last eight games since Grubauer replaced Michal Neuvirth on the roster?

Oates compared his situation to Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist [10-15-2, 2.77, .905] who has served as a backup to rookie Cam Talbot [8-2-0, 1.60, .938] the past two games.

“I don’t think anybody in their [right] mind thinks anything is going on other than Henrik said, ‘I’ve got to play a little better.’”

Talbot was the first goalie off the ice for the Rangers today, indicating he will get his first start against the Caps.